As President Joe Biden attempts to revive the Iran nuclear deal, the National Counterterrorism Center reported that the Iranian regime may be looking to assassinate current or former senior American officials in retaliation for the death of its top military commander.
The intelligence agency’s report, which was released in June, was obtained by Yahoo News.
In January 2020, the Trump administration ordered a drone strike on Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Since then, Iran has publicly threatened the lives of those responsible for his death.
“The Iranian regime is waging a multipronged campaign — including threats of lethal action, international legal maneuvering and the issuance of Iranian arrest warrants and sanctions — against select US officials to avenge the death of … Soleimani in January 2020, raising the threat at home and abroad for those Iran views as responsible for the killing,” the NCC’s report read.
“Iran would probably view the killing or prosecution of a US official it considers equivalent in rank and stature to Soleimani or responsible for his death as successful retaliatory actions,” the report continued.
Iran’s potential targets include former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and former U.S. Central Command head Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, who were all in office at the time of Soleimani’s death.
Yahoo reported that neither the NCC, Secret Service, Trump, Pompeo nor McKenzie responded to requests for comment.
A National Security Council spokesperson responded to the outlet’s inquiry, saying the American government “will protect and defend its citizens” from the alleged threats. The spokesperson did not comment on the report itself, however.
The intelligence report, dated June 16, was circulated within the federal government and law enforcement agencies to raise awareness of the potential retaliation. It was released two days after the White House announced the president’s visit to the Middle East.
In his first trip to the region as president, Biden stopped in Israel on Wednesday before flying to Saudi Arabia on Friday, where he was expected to discuss Iran’s nuclear program.
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal, established by former President Barack Obama, lifted sanctions on the Middle Eastern nation before Trump reneged on the agreement in 2018.
The former president withdrew from the deal because he believed it failed to limit Iran’s development of nuclear missiles, according to an article published by the Council on Foreign Relations.
Behnam Ben Taleblu, an expert on Iran, said the Biden administration is naive for attempting to negotiate a deal in the Middle East while American officials remain under threat from the Iranian government.
“It is baffling how the administration is trying to negotiate a deal with a government that has a river of terror threats against current and former U.S. officials,” he told Yahoo.
In Taleblu’s view, Iran won’t let Soleimani’s death slide that easily.
“The U.S. blow against a figure like Soleimani remains an unhealed wound for the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, with Tehran looking to wash blood away with blood,” he said.
“The fact that some U.S. officials need round-the-clock security due to the Islamic Republic’s threats and operations should be a wake-up call to those who only see Tehran as a potential proliferation problem or a distant threat in the Middle East.”
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